A couple of interesting articles today regarding the space shuttle.
- Space Shuttle Enterprise… is being moved by barge from JFK Airport in New York to its final destination, the Intrepid Museum. Today, after shipping out from JFK, Enterprise will make its way toward New York Harbor by traveling along the shore of Queens and Brooklyn. The planned route will bring Enterprise by the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, slip by Coney Island, and then pass under the Verrazano Bridge before pulling into a temporary dock in New Jersey’s Port Elizabeth. On Tuesday, the shuttle will finish the journey by leaving Port Elizabeth, passing the Statue of Liberty, floating up the Hudson River by the World Trade Center’s Freedom Tower, and arriving at the Intrepid museum.
- Space Shuttle Explorer (a/k/a Space Shuttle Replica). This is moving in Houston. The replica will take an early-morning trip from its dock at Clear Lake to the Space Center Houston by way of the area’s NASA Parkway and NASA 1 Bypass. The space shuttle replica was previously on display in Cape Canaveral, Fla., at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the welcome center for the nearby Kennedy Space Center spaceport that served as the homeport for NASA’s space shuttle fleet for 30 years. Florida will be getting Atlantis.
- Space Shuttle Endeavor. This is the interesting one. Endeavour is being prepared for its cross-country trip to Los Angeles, where it will be delivered to the California Science Center for public display. Once it arrives, it will face an interesting problem: how to get from LAX to the California ScienCenter near Exposition Park, where it will be housed. A report has been provided to the City Council detailing how hard this task will be: “…after being flown to Los Angeles International Airport, the shuttle will travel roughly ten miles on city streets to its new home at the California Science Center. To be transported on its belly, the shuttle will exceed five stories high and boast a wingspan of 78 feet. Detailed planning and coordination will be required to find an appropriate route that will avoid freeway overpasses and identify streets that are both wide enough and strong enough to support the Endeavour. It will be necessary for City crews to temporarily relocate overhead wires, street signs and traffic control devices to allow the shuttle to move safely through city streets. Additionally, traffic officers will need to be deployed at various locations along the route to assist motorists where traffic signal equipment has been removed.” For reference, your normal lane width is between 10-12 feet, so 78 feet means you’ll need a six to eight lane wide street for the entire route, with no places where the roadway goes under something (and remember, the route will have to cross I-405 at some point), and the ability to move something about 52 feet high… and any bridge you use needs to be able to support the load. Now remember the route will likely need to move across some of the more densely populated places in LA (Inglewood, South Central) to end up near USC. I wouldn’t want to be the space planner for that move.